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Fire danger increases throughout the state as heat advisories settle in for the weekend

A hand-drawn image of Smokey the Bear with a sign that says “High: Today’s Fire Danger.”
Grand Teton National Park

This story is part of our Quick Hits series. This series will bring you breaking news and short updates from throughout the state.

Heat advisories along with fire danger are rising across the state.

There are heat advisories in place for much of eastern Wyoming from noon on Thursday, July 11 to Sunday, July 14 at 10 p.m. Those advisories include the Bighorn Basin area, Wind River Basin area, and Natrona and Johnson counties.

The National Weather Service says afternoon temps could exceed 100 degrees over multiple days in the central swath of the state.

“Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors,” the Service advises. “Take extra precautions when outside. Wear lightweight and loose fitting clothing. Try to limit strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Take action when you see symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.”

Fire danger is now “high” for the Teton area, which includes Grand Teton National Park, Bridger-Teton National Forest and the National Elk Refuge. It’s also high for Yellowstone National Park, the Wind River Mountain Region and the Wyoming Range region.

That means fires can start easily and spread quickly. According to Teton Interagency Fire, the increase is connected to highly flammable downed trees and dried-up vegetation, as well as a continued forecast of warmer and drier weather.

Officials ask public land users to help prevent wildfires by not having fires in the first place, or by never leaving them unattended and completely extinguishing them.

“All campers and day users should have a shovel on hand and a water bucket ready for use if choosing to have a fire. Soak, stir, feel, repeat. It is extremely important that all campfires are ‘dead out’ and cold to the touch before leaving,” said the release.

Most counties in the eastern half of the state now also have Stage One Fire Restrictions, which means campfires can only be at residences or campsites in a fire ring. There are also restrictions in effect on the Wind River Reservation.

Hannah Habermann is the rural and tribal reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She has a degree in Environmental Studies and Non-Fiction Writing from Middlebury College and was the co-creator of the podcast Yonder Lies: Unpacking the Myths of Jackson Hole. Hannah also received the Pattie Layser Greater Yellowstone Creative Writing & Journalism Fellowship from the Wyoming Arts Council in 2021 and has taught backpacking and climbing courses throughout the West.
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